James Ward-Prowse has hit back at Roy Keane after being labelled a ‘cheat’ following England’s win in Iceland.
The Three Lions won 1-0 in Reykjavik in a a controversial end to the Nations League encounter.
Raheem Sterling scored a late penalty in injury time, before the hosts were promptly given their own opportunity from the spot.
As the referee spoke with Raheem Sterling, penalty taker Birkir Bjarnason and Three Lions goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, television footage seemed to show Ward-Prowse stamping on the penalty spot with his studs.
Ex-Aston Villa midfielder Bjarnason duly skied his spot kick, and ex-Manchester United skipper Keane hit out at Ward-Prowse’s actions while working as a pundit on ITV.
"It's cheating and I don't like to see that,” said Keane.
But Ward-Prowse, who was winning his third cap, claimed he was just trying to delay the game and insists he didn’t break any rules.
He said: "It wasn't any digging of the spot, it was more just delaying the penalty.
"It was a bit of a mad few minutes. We'd just obviously scored what we thought was the winning goal and then we faced the penalty, so it was more a delaying tactic just for everyone to get their heads together and prepare for the penalty.
“Thankfully it went in our favour."
Were Ward-Prowse's actions cheating or purely gamesmanship? Have your say here.
However, it isn’t the first time that Ward-Prowse has adopted such a tactic in the build up to an opposition penalty.
He has previously been spotted doing the same thing while playing for Southampton, and the 25 year-old Saints skipper admits he has tried to become a more streetwise player since Ralph Hasenhuttl took charge of the Saints.
"It's something which we can all take forward for sure. I think certainly at club level we have developed that ourselves as well and we've learned a lot with that, so I think it's just something that has added to my game.
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"It's an important factor in the modern game. There are certain scenarios in a game and you have to take yourself out of the situation and see what is best at that time.
"It is something that we at club level have employed.
"I think we (Saints) maybe had the reputation of being a bit too nice and we have maybe had to show a bit more aggression and a bit of that darker side in order to help us win games. I think it's just something that I have learned along the way."
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